Silent Night, page 1part #4 of Silence Series
By Natasha Preston
Copyright © 2014 Natasha Preston
All rights reserved.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
All characters in this publication are fictional and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.
Thank you to two fabulous ladies for making this book look amazing. Mollie Wilson from MJ Wilson Design and Hilda Therese from Dalliance Designs.
I want to say a huge thank you to a beautiful friend of mine for beta reading. Lucy Johnson, you rock!
Edited by Eileen Proksch.
For Zoë Lowdon.
My beautiful, hilarious, butt kicking #CryingAssistant and one of the best friends I could ever ask for. I love you, lady!
I woke earlier than usual – at six in the morning – but I couldn’t help smiling. Today was Christmas, and it wouldn’t be long before Everleigh woke and would be up and bouncing off the walls.
She hadn’t changed since she was a baby – full of life, eager to explore and learn, and extra loud.
This year was also special because it was baby Bentley’s first Christmas. He was only six months old and wouldn’t have a clue what was going on. But I was sure he’d enjoy the lights, new toys to chew on, and having attention from all of his family at once.
Beside me my husband, Cole, slept peacefully beside me. Like every morning when I was the first one up I took a minute to drink him in. I would never ever get over how lucky I am to have him. Cole was impossibly beautiful with shining blue eyes and dark hair.
If I didn’t have children and a million things to achieve each day I would just stare at him all day. The affect he had on me never lessened.
Cole forgave me for leaving him for four years when we were teenagers. He was the most incredible man, and I was honoured to call him my husband. Of course he said the exact same thing about me because he was a delusional fool.
I brushed his hair, letting my fingers glide to the back of his head. Slowly, two perfect blue eyes opened and stared back at me.
“Good morning,” he whispered, pulling me closer. “Merry Christmas.”
We curled around each other, and I closed my eyes. I’d loved Cole for a very long time now, but he still made my heart soar.
“How long do you think we have?” he asked, sliding his hand down my naked back.
“Probably about thirty seconds.”
Everleigh was five and an early riser. I didn’t mind because being woken by my little girl jumping all over me was the best way to get up. Bentley was a lazy baby and usually only woke when he heard his big sister.
“Damn, what I had planned would definitely take longer than thirty seconds. Although I can probably work something in with that.”
Laughing, I snuggled closer and pressed my face against his hard muscles and soft skin. He smelt incredible.
Letting him do whatever he had planned sounded very tempting, but too many times he’d got me all worked up then we had to stop because a little voice was calling us.
Spending Christmas sexually frustrated didn’t sound appealing.
Groaning, I said, “We can do that tonight. A lot.”
After everything I’d been through as a child I never expected to want anyone to touch me but when I was with Cole he made every touch special. He made me feel safe, loved, and like the woman I never thought I’d get to be. He gave me back what I thought they’d robbed forever.
“I love you, Cole,” I murmured against his skin. The words weren’t nearly enough for what I felt for him.
“I love you too, baby.”
“Mummy,” Everleigh called, waking Bentley at the same time. His baby babble was the sweetest thing and never failed to make my heart swell.
Sighing softly, I kissed Cole’s chest and got up. “We didn’t even get thirty seconds.”
Cole rolled onto his back, put his hands behind his head and raised his eyebrow as he watched me get dressed. “Later.”
“I’m coming, Everleigh,” I said, giving Cole one last longing look.
I grinned as I left our room and set eyes on our perfect daughter. Her big blue eyes lit up when she saw me. Bouncy blonde ringlets fell down her back.
She jumped up and down on her bed, pointing to the full stocking hanging on her wall. “He’s been! He’s been, Mummy!”
“I can see, sweetie. Merry Christmas,” I said, opening my arms for a hug. She bound off the bed and tackled my legs. I managed to get one quick kiss to the top of her head before she squirmed away. “I’m just going to get Bentley up. Why don’t you go and see Daddy.”
“Okay!” she shouted and took off.
“Bentley,” I whispered as I left her room and pushed his door open. He always had a big smile whenever he saw Cole or me. Or his grandparents and Uncle Jasper. He’d pulled himself up, so he was sitting in his cot, gripping the wooden bars.
Reaching over I picked him up and kissed his head. “Happy first Christmas, baby boy. Let’s go see Daddy and your big sister,” I said, taking him back to our room. He babbled and tugged on my hair as I kissed his rosy cheek.
I couldn’t help laughing as I saw Everleigh jumping on our bed with her legs either side of Cole. He’d tensed up in case she fell onto an area he really wouldn’t want to be hit.
Yeah, we needed to all get up before she landed in the area he really didn’t want her to hit.
“How about I change Bentley, then go downstairs and get ready?” I said.
“Yes!” Everleigh shrieked. I thought that would get her seal of approval. “Merry Christmas, Bentley.”
“First Christmas,” Cole added. “Everleigh, let me up so I can pee before we go down.”
“Don’t wanna, Daddy,” she replied, waving her arms up and down as she jumped.
I left them to it, smiling to myself and changed Bentley so we could get our Christmas started. He watched me, cooing as I changed his nappy and popped his elf-themed baby grow back up.
“Are you ready to open your presents?” I asked, kissing his button nose. He smiled in return, not having a single clue what I was talking about. Two tiny little teeth were just about visible from his bottom gum.
I picked him back up and perched him on my hip. “We’re going down now. I’ll call you in a minute,” I called along the hall.
Everleigh squealed in response, but Cole replied, “Okay, babe.”
Bentley slapped me in the face at least five times as we walked downstairs as he waved his arms around.
“Look, Bentley, presents!” I pointed to the piles and piles of gifts in the living room. Of course he wasn’t at all interested. I put him in his Jumperoo and flicked the tree lights on. That was when he took notice. He kicked with his legs, making himself bounce and grinned so wide he almost looked shocked.
Our decorations were all the colours of the rainbow because when you have a five year old sticking to one or two colours just isn’t an option.
“That’s all you’re going to be excited about this year, huh?” I said, bending down and kissing his check. Turning my head so I wouldn’t deafen him, I shouted, “Okay, we’re ready for you!”
Everleigh’s footsteps thudded down the stairs, and I heard Cole laughing as he came down after her. Those two were so adorable.
“Wow!” she sc
“I think she’s excited,” Cole said dryly, leaning against the doorframe in just a pair of joggers.
Merry Christmas to me.
I made no attempt to hide my ogling of my husband’s toned, muscular chest.
He lifted an eyebrow and smirked. I shrugged one shoulder. I’d never be embarrassed for perving on him anymore. Cole walked over, gave me a kiss and bent down to see Bentley.
“I’ll make hot chocolates and Bentley’s milk, and then we can get unwrapping,” I said, leaving Cole and Everleigh to pull funny faces at Bentley. God I loved them.
I dashed into the kitchen, filled the kettle up and switched it on. Our whole house was decorated in hundreds of fairy lights. It felt so cosy I wanted to leave them up all year round, but Cole was dead against the idea.
As the kettle boiled, I looked over in the mirror that stretched the entire length of the wall on the dining area side. Since I’d spoken up and told the truth about what had happened to me, I looked so much more alive. Even I noticed the colour in my cheeks and spark in my eyes. Everything changed from that day.
Warmth hugged me, squeezing my heart. The feeling of complete bliss wasn’t constant, I still had bad
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